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Bengal real estate body seeks government help to bring labourers back at construction sites

The industry body urged the state government to allow movement of workers from their home towns and native villages after the Centre had given its nod to restart construction activities from April 20.

Published: 18th April 2020 03:12 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th April 2020 03:12 PM   |  A+A-

Migrants exodus, Migrants lockdown

Representational image (Express Illustration| Prabha Shankar)

By PTI

KOLKATA: A real estate developers' association in West Bengal has sought permission from the state government to bring labourers back at the project sites after the Centre allowed to resume construction works with some restrictions during the ongoing lockdown, an official said on Saturday.

The industry body urged the state government to allow movement of workers from their home towns and native villages after the Centre had given its nod to restart construction activities from April 20 on those projects where labourers are already available at the sites.

"We have written to the state government seeking permission to start works at the construction sites and reopening offices in a partial and phased manner," Credai West Bengal president Sushil Mohta told PTI.

But the challenge with most of the projects has been availability of workers as many labourers hailed from districts and they left for their homes immediately after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had announced the lockdown, he said.

"We have also urged the state to allow us to bring labourers back from their home districts such as Medinipur, Murshidabad, Bankura and other areas," Mohta, also chairman of the Merlin Group, said.

Citing a similar experience, National Real Estate Development Council, Maharashtra vice president Ashok Mohanani said majority of workers are migrant labourers and have returned to their native places at this time.

"Reverse migration has hit the real estate sector which has resulted in a labour shortage," he said.

There are 8.5 million workers in India engaged in building and other construction activities.

The guidelines issued for restarting economic activities during the lockdown "do not allow travel of labourers to construction sites", an industry expert said.

Labourers available at construction sites can commence work from April 20 in strict adherence to social distancing norms, he said.

"We have committed to undertake sanitisation exercise at sites and ensure that social distancing norms are followed," Mohta said.

The industry has also sought permission to bring construction materials at the sites during the ongoing lockdown imposed to check the coronavirus outbreak, he said.

Real estate sector has been passing through a challenging time due to financial crisis, he added.

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